French Prime Minister announced that the government will now employ stricter means to restrict unannounced protests after seven weeks of unrest caused by the yellow vest protest across cities in France
French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe announced on a French TV channel that the government would support law implementing stricter measure to put an end to unannounced demonstrations during the ongoing yellow vest protest in France. Monday’s announcement came as a response to seven weeks of unrest and demonstrations across French cities that started in mid-November last year.
While the number of protesters has relatively gone down, peaceful protests have turned into aggressive demonstrations. In Paris, protestors have set ablaze cars and other motorcycles, smashed down government office gates, and got into fights with the riot police. When the protests first broke out amid predictions of a rise in fuel taxes, the protesters donned high visibility ‘yellow vests’. In many cases, the vests have now been replaced or accompanied by face masks, usually worn by violent protesters.
As a result, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has asserted, “New law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare (protests), those who take part in unauthorised demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks”. Referring to troublemakers causing destruction of property, the Prime Minister added, “The troublemakers, and not taxpayers, to pay for the damage caused” during protests.
Protesters have also been demanding the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron, in response to which, the French Prime Minister stated, “Those who question our institutions will not have the last word”.
The announcement has received a mixed response with some stating that a strict law would not be enough to stop the violence as it would not take “immediate effect.” Others argue such a law would imply that “demonstrators can no longer demonstrate.”